Osaka: Big Men, Big Lights and Big Lines

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March 25th 2006
Published: April 2nd 2006
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Osaka Weekend

Universal Studios JapanUniversal Studios JapanUniversal Studios Japan

Kinda looks like the one in America huh? Here we have Logan, Lisa, Russ, Jessie, Jeff, Brian, and Me
This weekend was a mixture of old Japan meets new Japan: Sumo and Universal Studios Japan. I was extremely excited for this weekend for numerous reasons. A) I think sumo is awesome. B) We were going with an awesome group of Hiroshima JETs ready to leave their mark on Osaka, and C) Who doesn't love theme parks! I have never even been to Universal Studios in California!

So we set out in our bus, of course one person was late, as always, same ordeal on our way to Mt Fuji (same person always!)! Sumo was awesome, again. Yet the atmosphere was VERY different than when I was in Fukuoka. Osaka was the last tournament of the year for these big boys. They were not as genki as they were at the Fukuoka Tournament. They were not up for all those photos that all those silly foreigners wanted to take. They did not want to do silly poses, and not one of them even smiled at me! I dared not ask one of them if I could hug them, kiss them, even touch them. I think it was also very serious because being the last one, they wanted to end well.
Sumo In OsakaSumo In OsakaSumo In Osaka

Pretty Flags outside the arena
And, this being my second time watching sumo I was a little more in tune with the actual technique and sport...or as much as I could be. Unfortunately all of our seats were split up so the idea of doing a wave was not going to work that well.

After a great afternoon of sumo and putting back a few beers, we took a brief nap and headed out for a night in Osaka. Now this is where my night turns a little sour. Osaka is infamous for its nightlife. The only other place that can rival it is Tokyo. So much that we were somewhat overwhelmed and didn't really no where to go! After a few bars and a few kombinis later, we settled on a place called PURE. When we got there, we were the only people there! It was crazy! I felt like I was in college again. They gave me a wristband meaning that I had paid for the nomihodai. Felt like I was at a college invitational and they had just checked my ID! Due to lack of competition for the bartenders attention since no one was there we definitely had a little too much to drink. We settled in our little hobbit hole drinking gin and tonics and screwdrivers. At the club (which turned out to be pretty gaijin oriented, yet still very fun) I met up with fellow Cal student James. He is studying in Yamanashi-ken and was there with his brother. Was great catching up with him...I tell you Berkeley is taking over the world! Also met up with my tatami-timeshare friend, Tom. Lets just say the rest of the night was a blur, and it was one of those nights that you are happy you are alive the next day! I have amazing friends and I think someone upstairs has a their eye out for me! Moral of the story: My friends are amazing (never thought I would find such good ones in Japan), and I am not in college anymore, let alone I need to stop acting like it.

That said, the next day we were brought back to our childhood days of fun as our bus pulled up to Universal Studios Japan. I must say I was overly excited for this day. I haven't been to too many theme parks (disneyland once in my life!) so
"Look at the Buns on that one""Look at the Buns on that one""Look at the Buns on that one"

"yeah, he must work out..."
this was really exciting for me. For the first 10 minutes I was prancing around the main street and so excited to be there. In the distance I could see big letters "Ghiradelli" similar to the real ones in SF, and was so excited to go hang out in SF Land. This excitement was halted around noon, after we finished the one ride we woudl go on all day, that wasn't necessarily worth it, and we waited 2 hours to get on. We went on The Back to the Future Ride, which was not that cool, not worth the 2 hour wait. In addition, it was all in Japanese! Didn't really sound like Doc! After that we decided to get some food, and waited in line for 45 minutes! Then we went from ride to ride and they were all either broken or had a 2-3 hour wait. All USJ turned out to be was a bunch of lines! The rest of the day we wandered around enjoying the elaborate sets. Jeff and i got all excited about SF Land. We attempted to stand in line for a 90 minute wait, yet once we approached the line and saw people
Big BoyBig BoyBig Boy

Jaded? I couldn't even get a smile!!
standing there, not even moving, we said no way. Stirling ended up staying and not coming back to Hiroshima with us. Since he was there late when all the crowds were gone he got to go on all the rides...soooo key to theme parks, go at night!

So a very interesting weekend- a mix of cultures, and I learned a lesson or two about myself. I still love sumo, and definitely want to go back to Osaka and get more lost in the lights and vibrant streets.

Additional photos below
Photos: 26, Displayed: 25



Headed out to battle

Corrupting an old lady on obscene photos. (she was more than willing to do this once I showed her what I was doing!)
Canada takes on Sumo!Canada takes on Sumo!
Canada takes on Sumo!

Lisa and her friend Logan practicing their stance
Gaijin Sumo!!!Gaijin Sumo!!!
Gaijin Sumo!!!

Taking it to the streets of Osaka
Japanese FashionJapanese Fashion
Japanese Fashion

These guys were out of control
Japanese FashionJapanese Fashion
Japanese Fashion

How long do you think it took him to get his hair like that?
Club PureClub Pure
Club Pure

Lisa, Tom, and Brian in our Hobbit Hole
Berkeley In Japan!!Berkeley In Japan!!
Berkeley In Japan!!

More Berkeley kids all over Japan...James and I hanging out in Osaka

We wer so excited to be there! Mind you, this was our first 10 minutes in the park
Back to the FutureBack to the Future
Back to the Future

The ONE RIDE we went on ALL DAY
San Francisco!!!San Francisco!!!
San Francisco!!!

Feel's like home! Jeff and I in his berkeley hat and my t-shirt...almost home! Highlight of the day!

Thats right, 170 minutes to get on one ride. Are you kidding me!?
Jurassic Park CarJurassic Park Car
Jurassic Park Car

So we didn't get to go on the ride, due to lines AND it was broken half the day. Still, this is one of my favorite movies...had to take a photo with the car!
At the endAt the end
At the end

So this is how Pete, Stirling, me and Jeff felt about USJ after a long day of lines and a long night out on the town

The highlight of the with large characters!

8th April 2006

you're hot.
Casey, nice pics. I'm in sydney now, you're prob. just arriving in Hong Kong. hope all is well. PS. I noticed you went to cabbage and condoms in bangkok, we hit that for dinner in kyoto. good food. see ya babe.

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